Gallbladder Infection

What is a gallbladder infection?

A gallbladder infection, also known as cholecystitis, is inflammation of the gallbladder. This usually occurs when a gallstone blocks the cystic duct, resulting in a bile buildup. This causes inflammation.Other causes of gallbladder may include excessive alcohol use, infections or even tumors that cause bile buildup.

What causes a gallbladder infection?

A gallbladder infection is often caused by gallstones. Gallstones may block the cystic duct, which is the tube that bile flows when it leaves the gallbladder, causing bile to build up. This results in inflammation of the gallbladder. In other cases, a gallbladder infection is caused by a tumor. A tumor may prevent bile from draining out of your gallbladder normally. This causes bile to accumulate which may lead to an infection.

What are the symptoms?
If you have a gallbladder infection, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Acute pain in your upper right abdomen
  • Pain that may radiate beneath the right shoulder blade or the back
  • Pain that occurs especially after meals
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever and chills

How is it diagnosed?
Your doctor will provide a physical examination for you. Thereafter, you may be scheduled to undergo blood tests to check for signs of an infection or diagnostic imaging tests such as abdominal ultrasound or CT scan that show your gallbladder. A hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) scan may be recommended to show the movement of bile through your body. This works by tracking the production and flow of bile from your liver to your small intestine and shows blockage. A radioactive dye will be injected into your body and it binds to the bile-producing cells so it can be seen as it travels with the bile through the bile ducts.

Why laparoscopic gallbladder removal to treat a gallbladder infection?
The primary treatment for an acute gallbladder infection is surgery to remove the gallbladder, commonly known as cholecystectomy. An Around 20 per cent of patients with acute cholecystitis require immediate gallbladder removal because of widespread infection or perforation of the gallbladder. As gallbladder infection frequently re-occurs, most people with this condition eventually end up removing their gallbladder. Surgery has proven to be the most effective method in dealing with gallbladder infections and the problems they cause.

Once your gallbladder is removed, bile flows directly from your liver into your small intestine, instead of being stored in your gallbladder.

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